Best Ex - Sound In The Signals Interview

Best Ex recently released a new song and signed to No Sleep Records. Mariel Loveland says she's working on new music and a follow-up to her debut EP, Ice Cream Anti-Social.  We discussed new song, "Bad Love", how important it is to have a supportive team, and how toxic the pop punk scene can be for women. Read more below.

First, thanks for the interview.

You're so welcome!

You just released your new song “Bad Love”. You’ve said it was “born from heartbreak and bleakness of a frozen NYC winter”. Can you tell me a little about how the song came together and the writing process for it?

Straight-up, New York in the winter is the most depressing thing I ever had the unfortune of experiencing. When I first wrote the song it was in the absolutely coldest month, and I really was just feeling kind of low and bored. At the time, I wasn't really working a lot because I had been laid off of one of my main gigs and I was sitting in my mom's basement in the suburbs between trips to England, where I was sort of building a new life. I didn't really see people or leave the house when I was home. I just had nothing going on and was feeling so uninspired, but one day I just picked up the guitar because I was so bored, starting thinking about times my life was more exciting, and it came pouring out. I think once I decide it's "album writing time" it opens up a certain floodgate. At first it's a trickle, and I'm always like, "Is there still water in this well?" Then it's like Niagara Falls.

After I recorded this, I sent a voice note to a producer my friend had linked me up with named Andy Tongren. He really helped me nail down the sounds that were in my head. I am so, so thankful for that. It really felt like magic. Like he had discovered the link that was missing or had the key to this door that was always locked.

You also recently announced that you’ve signed to No Sleep Records. What made you decide to sign with them and how has the experience been so far?

No Sleep has been home to a lot of my friends and they're deeply involved in the DIY scene in America. I think we just have a lot of the same values and I really thought Chris would get what I'm doing. He's seen my career from the beginning because we run in the same circles. I think that's important: to have someone who knows where you came from, where you've been, and who you are because of those experiences.

So far, it's been good. Maybe a little hectic because I feel like I'm not back into the swing of things. Releasing a song used to be a seamless process. It felt like we were on an assembly line, and now I'm like trying to oil up machinery that hasn't been used in years to get things moving again. Thankfully, Chris has this process down pat.

For those who may be unfamiliar, you were in a band named Candy Hearts. The sound was a lot different from Best Ex, but both projects are anchored by great vocal performances. How did you find your sound for Best Ex?

Like I said above, I'd give a whole lot of credit to Andy. He has this absolute gift. All I had to do was describe to him what I was going for and what I wanted, and he came up with this brilliant stuff that sounded exactly like what was in my head. He was super patient and let me experiment a lot. I couldn't have done it without him!

Did you have any hesitation about taking a chance and branching out with your style and sound? Have you been pleased with the response so far?

There's always a hesitation, but I have to be honest. I was not so stoked about the way the pop punk scene tends to be a bit toxic for women. It was really starting to wear on me, and in the past, I would casually think: I want to get out of here. I miss having female friends. I want to be on tour where someone doesn't try to grab me, hook up with me, belittle me, comment on my ass or send me photos I don't want to receive. Now, I think things have changed a lot in the last 5 years, but just look at almost every pop punk tour. It's like one or two women and like 30 dudes. Once I considered that, my fears of changing my style and sound were quickly squashed. So what if it might not be as popular? It makes me happier. Thankfully, our fans seem to like it!

I’ve read that you’re directing your new music video. Tell us a bit about how that’s going and what that’s been like so far. Will we be seeing that soon?

"Soon" comes with a lot of caveats. I've never ever made an actual music video. I did make the lyric video for "Girlfriend" in Microsoft Movie Maker, but I've never used actual video editing software and I've certainly never filmed something on a camera that wasn't my iPhone. So, what I'm trying to say is, this could wind up terribly or take forever; however, I'm pretty confident I can figure it out. It may just take a bit of time (and definitely more camera batteries than I anticipated). I really want to learn how to do this stuff, I have a clear vision, and there's no time like the present.

Are you planning a full length or EP any time soon? What’s next for Best Ex?

I don't want to say too much, but I will say I have a lot of finished, mastered songs on my hard drive right now.

I guess that wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for interviewing me! I guess, maybe, I want to say that anyone who likes my song you can follow Best Ex on Instagram or Twitter.

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